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Coffee County Commissioners drop planning commission agenda item; public comments get heated

Coffee County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to remove an agenda item from the commission meeting that would have opened up a hearing regarding the Coffee County Planning Commission.

Thunder Radio News first brought you this story on Saturday, Nov. 11 that controversy was brewing regarding Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny’s office and five members of the Coffee County Planning Commission that Matheny was apparently attempting to remove.

Before the matter could be addressed on Tuesday, Commissioner Terry Hershman made a motion to remove the hearing from the agenda, with a second motion from Commissioner Tim Morris. The Commission voted 11-4 to remove the agenda item.

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Commissioners Jimmy Hollandsworth, Joseph Hodge, Missy Deford and Tim Stubblefield voted against the motion in an attempt to keep the hearing on the agenda.

Thunder Radio News learned that Matheny sent certified mail dated October 26 to five of the seven members on the county planning committee informing them that the are being “removed for cause.”

The letter states:

“Please take notice that a hearing will be held on November 14, 2023 before the full Coffee County Commission for your removal for cause from the Coffee County Planning Commission. This hearing will be held in the main commission meeting room in the Coffee County Administrative Plaza located at 1329 McArthur Street, Manchester. Should you contest your removal, proof will be presented that you are deficient for failing to satisfy the requirements for your continued service of the planning commission. This will include failing to satisfy mandates set forth in Tennessee code annotated 13-3-101 regarding your training and its proper documentation and not providing due diligence and proactive services to Coffee County and its citizens in order to better prepare for our growth in population and job creation. Coffee County appreciates your prior service.”

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Matheny’s argument appears to hinge on inadequate training and/or training documentation for members in question.

Even though the item was removed from the Agenda, there was discussion on the matter during public comments Tuesday night. There was heated discussion and debate about the proposed removal of the 5 members of the Planning Commission. You can hear that debate by clicking here.

Mayor Matheny asked Bryan Burklin, Assistant Director of Local Government Audit, for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, to step to the podium, for this exchange:

Find Tennessee Annotated Code relating to Planning commissions here:

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